A WA teenager with leukaemia has been denied the disability pension on the grounds that leukaemia is not a permanent disability.
Right. A condition requiring years of treatment to get better, and which in the meantime means he needs help dressing and bathing and more, is not disability enough to access Centrelink benefits just because he’s not going to have it all his life (unless of course it kills him)? What ignorant, poorly trained moron came up with that decision?
Well, it wasn’t Centrelink themselves who made the decision, under the new welfare changes whereby anyone applying for a disability support pension must demonstrate that they are unable to work 15 hours a week. Apparently the rules make no exclusions for obvious no-brainers like people undergoing chemotherapy. The actual decision was, of course, made by one of those outsourced private agencies that conduct Centrelink appraisals these days.
The kicker, for me? When she took him in to the agency for his disability appraisal, the day after he was released from one of his many hospital admissions, the only reason she managed to get her son to the interview (which they had refused to reschedule) was that passing police officers lifted his wheelchair up the steps.
One would think that requiring agencies that conduct Centrelink disability appraisals to at the very least have wheelchair access would be the absolute minimum requirement for tenders for these contracts, but apparently not.
(Crossposted at Larvatus Prodeo)
Update: they’ve reversed their decision.
they reversed the decision because the media heard about it and the minister got involved. I wonder how many other people have been dudded and not had the decision reversed. (it took so long for Mum’s Carer’s Payment to come through that my sister had already died, so then they said she didn’t need it – she hassled them for backpay)It really bugs me that the assessors clearly didn’t know anything at all about leukaemia and what it does to people. Even worse, that they didn’t listen to his doctor’s prediction of him needing three years off work & school.
Yeah, they got busted. It’s quite similar to when the government finds they’ve illegaly deported an assylum seeker – it’s only an issue for them when they get caught out by the media.
The role of the media in highlighting these cases is one of its nobler purposes. It’s a shame there isn’t more of this instead of the titillating and fearmongering stuff.